Has Football only been sexist since Saturday??

by admin

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

An atmosphere of ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,’ isn’t an atmosphere of change or tolerance. Unseen, unheard, unsaid but still there and right or wrong, where will it go?
Former Sky Sports football analyst Andy Gray may sit (unemployed) and wonder why exactly he has lost his job. Richard Keys, his host and colleague for the past two decades may sit and wonder exactly why he hasn’t.
As more ‘lost footage’ emerges we are being painted a picture of two evil sexist beasts, who, had it been revealed to us earlier would be living in caves and clubbing their food to death. Thank Rio Ferdinand’s Twitter for the ‘prehistoric’ imagery.
The most interesting thing about the fall-out isn’t who got sacked and why, although it seems quite evident; Gray was sacked for making ludicrously insulting and sexist statements about female assistant referee Sian Massey. Keys hasn’t been sacked because…no real explanation for that as yet but after today’s “Would you smash it?” video I hazard we’ll know very soon.
The insinuations that no woman knows the offside rule and the claim Massey wasn’t overly attractive. The fact is these comments don’t have any place in the workplace. Generally they aren’t helpful in society so I’m not at all surprised Sky has dismissed Gray.
A lot of us however, would view these words as commonplace. Boys chat? Banter? How wrong are we? How rare is this? Is it sexism? Male bonding? I’m not sure. I’m really no sociologist.
However I can’t help but think Gray has had a trial by media. Inevitable given he’s a broadcaster but the views shared across social media networks far and wide told me only one thing; we all wanted him gone. Just for different reasons.
Some had grown tiresome of his ‘Take a bow son’ commentary, or annoyed at him using the wrong squiqqly line every Monday Night. Many felt he was always wrong, constantly agreeing with terrible decisions made against their team.
To me all that was part of the entertainment and a part of what made Gray a man of the game, and up until last Saturday, we were all going along happily with a character that many adored.
The distinction between views has been drawn, most obviously, along gender lines. Males seem happy he’s gone because they’d grown tired of him but females are fighting the good cause. Females from far and wide, with absolutely no interest in sport it seems descended on the topic crying for blood. And they got it.
But let’s not be naive about the topic. The assertions that our sport is sexist are scandalous and based purely on the Gray and Keys affair. We are talking about a female linesman in the Premier League here, who is a mere 25 years old. How on earth this could have got football a bad name I really do not know!!
One thing to bear in mind, the youngest ever Referee in Premier League history was Michael Oliver at a mere, yep, you guessed it; 25 years old! Claims females are being held back in football isn’t the topic here. It has manifested to row over sexism in the workplace.
Many female sports journalists have taken the time to let us know how much sexism has held back their careers. I won’t say it doesn’t exist. I won’t say that it hasn’t affected them. But to say it does any more or less than in any other walk of life is pure fallacy.
My prospects working in any female consumerist market would be greatly hampered by the fact I’m a male and the same is true when the stiletto is on the other foot.
I think it is unfortunate that the world of sport’s media has jumped on this bandwagon far too easily by playing the sexism card. Former Sky and Setanta Sports Presenter Kelly Dalglish called for the axe to be wielded immediately and she or BBC favourite Gabby Logan have been tipped by some to replace Keys.
As sensational as those appointments would be I hope it would open discussion on nepotism in the sport. Or are there too many former players’ children in sports media for that to matter??

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  • Big Fidge

    Great heading Hugh!
    It’s my understanding that Gray was sacked because of the comments he made to Charlotte Jackson about tucking his mic down his trousers. Keys was present but was not shown making comment, which is why he wasn’t sacked.

    Another thing people keep saying is that this is a male-dominated environment. That’s wrong.
    The Premier League may be a male-dominated environment, but Keys and Gray did not work there – they worked in television broadcasting, which is a whole different ball game (pun intended).

  • Stan

    has anyone seen that vid of them laughing at woman goal keepers? It’s hilarious, and they do have a point!

  • Tim Collins

    Haha no but it sounds funny! Have you got the link?

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